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Germantown Residents Concerned About Increase in Crime in Town Center Area (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

UPDATED Dozens of residents turned out for a Town Hall meeting hosted by police to discuss an uptick in crime in the Germantown central business district area on Wednesday. MyMCMedia’s Maureen Chowdhury reports.

The meeting was held at the Germantown Community Library, where Commander of the 5th District Dave Gillespie along with officers presented residents with statistics and initiatives police are working on to reduce crime in the Century Boulevard area, also known at “the strip.” Police noticed an uptick in crime in March and have increased patrol around the Town Center.

During the meeting many residents said that large groups of teens gathering in the Town Center area are a concern especially with summer vacation around the corner. Police said some teens have been linked to criminal activity including assaults and theft.

“For people who live on the ‘the strip’ as you know it, we are dreading June 19th, because then they all are out there,” one resident said.  Another resident wondered if the crimes were gang related.

Gillespie said that the increase in crime is not gang related but can be linked to a growing population.

“This is a growing community and as we continue to grow we’re going to have growing pains,” Gillespie said. “Right now, the central business district, it’s an area that’s very attractive for people to go, to shop, to hang out with after school. There’s a lot of kids that live in this community….so they want to be a part of the community,” he said. “There’s a few people, I think they’re creating some of the issues for the majority,” Gillespie said.

Police highlighted various initiatives that they are working on to combat the increase in crime activity, including engaging with local youth.

image“By actually knowing the individuals, knowing their names, them getting to know the officers, it kind of reduces and deescalates things a little bit because now you actually can put a name to a face,” Gillespie said. “So, you’re a little less likely to commit a crime or be disrespectful to somebody that you actually know. So, I think the benefit in that has been that we’ve gotten to know [and] we have a better relationship with many of the youth. But it’s still a work in progress [and] there’s still a lot of work to be done,” he said.

Montgomery County Councilmember Craig Rice along with other County officials and State Delegates Aruna Miller and David Fraser-Hidalgo also attended the meeting. Councilmember Rice said that the County is working to expand its outreach efforts as well.

“One of the things that’s a part of this year’s budget…is the Street Outreach Network that has done great work in the Gaithersburg area and we’re looking to expand it to the Germantown area as well,” Rice said.

Moving forward Gillespie said police will continue to monitor the area.

“We have the central district units fully staffed, we have other resources in the district, and there are other resources outside of the district we can utilize as well if we need to. But right now, we’re going to continue to do much of the same things we have been doing because it’s been successful,” Gillespie said

  • 05-18-2016 Germantown Town Hall on Crime 03
  • 05-18-2016 Germantown Town Hall on Crime 02

Maureen Chowdhury

About Maureen Chowdhury

Maureen Chowdhury is a multimedia journalist with Montgomery Community Media. She can be reached at mchowdhury@mymcmedia.org and on Twitter at @MediaMaureen. Maureen authors the blog Sound Check on MyMCMedia.

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